February 13, 2018

A Team Player, Rather Than a Coach

After several events over the past weekend and shaking hundreds of hands, I had the realization that here in the middle of flu season, I hope everybody is washing their hands really, really well.

Last Saturday, four Republican gubernatorial candidates met at the Vestavia Hills Library for the Mid Alabama Republican Club. It was our first big event, and it was kind of a big showdown that everybody was looking for. I had a great time. There were probably 160 people there, including my dad and my stepmom and a lot of people who knew from the time I lived in Birmingham. I felt like I had a bit of a home field advantage.

To continue that theme, the Governor spoke and said she wanted to be the coach of the team. Well, I think I’d rather be a player on the field doing something, instead of just pacing up and down the sidelines.

We all had 10 minutes, and I talked about our track record of bringing jobs to Alabama because of what we’ve put in place in north Alabama. I talked about the three E’s – ethics, education and economy. Ethics is so important now after all that the old guard on Capitol Hill has put our state through. Obviously, education is a great key to Alabama’s future and that ties into economic growth, which we’ve enjoyed in Huntsville. We’ve got the recipe for that secret sauce.

The young evangelist, who is a candidate, followed me and he had four E’s in his speech. He used the three I mentioned and he added “effectiveness.” We talked afterward and had a good laugh about it, a nice lighthearted moment in the midst of a serious campaign.

Then, after some handshaking and a quick lunch at Chick-Fil-A, we went to the Alabama Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, and spoke to their entire leadership group. I got to tell them about my background and what we’ve accomplished in Huntsville – and shook a lot more hands.

I was back in Huntsville to teach Sunday school, talking about Ash Wednesday, and we had a spirited conversation about our duty according to God’s law.

We started Monday with breakfast in Decatur with a number of local leaders, including Mayor Tab Bowling. We talked about how we’ve been able to grow by working together as north Alabama communities, to share in the successes like the new Toyota-Mazda joint manufacturing facility we’ve attracted to Huntsville.

I promptly headed south to Montgomery for some meetings and an interview, but Mrs. Battle may have been the busiest member of the household. Eula was doing her part for the campaign at a Republican women’s club meeting. They had such a good time together, they invited her to come back any time, and to come play Bunco with them.

Funny, but when I spoke to them last year, I didn’t get the same invitation.

Until next time…